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New Facebook Referrals in Google Analytics — 11 Comments

  1. We are having a problem with some bots generating traffic “direct” on our site. However, coincident with recent bot peaks, we also see a peak in l.facebook referrals. These referrals are clearly dead bot traffic – one page, zero time on page, and 100% bounce. So it looks like the i.facebook referrer is handing us lots of junk!

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    • They come from the unsecured areas of Facebook, from what I can tell. You will know Facebook went SSL so certain areas of the site are secure displaying a https in the url. However, there are still parts of Facebook which are not in the secure area – makes sense that Facebook would implement the LinkShim more heavily in these areas. These are not confirmed facts from Facebook, only my best guess and what would make sense to me – doesn’t make it so!

  4. Hey Jules, thanks for this post. I guess the thing I still don’t understand now is the difference between the two referrals eg facebook.com and l.facebook.com. Facebook is https and all links get put through the link shim so why would the same site see facebook.com and l.facebook.com? Why would any referral just be facebook.com? Am I just being really dense here?

    • Hiya, a good question, Google Analytics is splitting the data it receives and identifying those filtred through the Link Shim. That’s really all we know at this stage, I keep checking to see if there is a further explanation available from either Google or Facebook… nothing I have spotted so far. Will keep you updated but shout if you spot it first!

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  6. Hi there – and thanks for a great explanation of l.facebook and lm.facebook.

    I stumbled across your article when trying to research those referrers.

    I’ve been taken to the warning page one time after clicking one of my own links. This troubled me. I was afraid that this happened to many potential visitors of mine, scaring them off.

    I then started reading online. The information was sparse. But I saw some comments like this one: “Lost 90% of my traffic thanks to this …”

    Hopefully, your information is correct.

    You write:

    “The notion that people clicking on links to sites from Facebook are now being routinely redirected to warning pages is incorrect. Most users don’t even see the link shim operating and go directly to your site.”

    How do you know that? Have this been confirmed by Facebook?

    And when there’s nothing shady about a web site (I can’t see why Facebook would deem my site as suspicious), why are some people still being warned?

    Do you think using SSL on my site could help?

    I’m thankful for any reply 🙂

    All the best!

    • Hello,

      Thank you for reading our post, the information we are referencing comes directly from Facebook and it’s help sheets about Linkshim. Linkshim has been in place for a long time (2008) without anyone noticing anything derogatory. As I understand the process the ‘warning’ is simply there to tell the user they are passing from a secured site (https) to a non secured site (http).

      regarding your query about SSL – I would recommend SSL but not as a way to fight against the above – because Google does rate secure sites higher… for now!

      If you have any more queries feel free to post again. Hopefully the above helps.

      Regards
      Jules White

      PS In case you missed it, here is the article we refer to in the article, https://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=10150492832835766

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